Mimi Kelly reports for the Indy on the "Great unleashing"
Known as the Transition movement, resilience is at its core. “Resilience is a system,” Rob Hopkins who founded Transitions in England in 2005, says on YouTube, “which, when it experiences shock from outside, it doesn’t fall to pieces. It has built into it the ability to adapt and change to meet circumstances.”
Transition of Chapel Hill and Carrboro will celebrate resilience at a daylong community gathering called an “unleashing” May 15 at the Carrboro Century Center, 100 N. Greensboro St. Among the speakers is Norman L. Christensen, professor of ecology and founding dean of Duke University’s Nicholas School of Environmental Sciences & Policy.
“Our resilience is increased by the ties we have with each other, says Margaret Kromes-Lukens, founder of the Carrboro/Chapel Transitions Town. The joy of this work “comes from neighbor helping neighbor.”
Other Transition towns are working on sustainability. Santa Cruz, Calif., is establishing a sustainable water commons that helps people, for example, “to hook up your laundry washer so water will irrigate your yard.”
Sandpoint, Idaho, is running an edible, medicinal and useful native plants workshop, while Berea, Ky., has a “50 X 25” plan. By 2025 they intend to reduce energy use by 50 percent. Starting with growing their own food, weatherizing houses, installing solar panels on all buildings, increasing walking and biking, and promoting “green building initiatives.”
How Chapel Hill and Carrboro will become more sustainable is for the residents to decide. For example, would the further development of local farms be an answer to food shortages that could arise from a rapid increase in gasoline prices that could slow or stop food shipments? Other solutions could include the creation of a seed exchange, a tool cooperative or a land share program in which people with spare land offer to potential gardeners.
“We do it from a well of passion” said Kathy Shea, a Transitions steering committee member.
The owner of Children’s University, a five-star preschool in Chapel Hill, arrived breathless and an hour late to her criminal trial this morning in Orange County Superior Court—and a lot of people were waiting for her: Representatives from the state Employment Security Commission, the plaintiff in today’s case, whom she owes $9,400 in back payroll taxes; and
eight seven teachers at the now defunct school whom she owes tens of thousands of dollars in back pay.
When the trial ended, McEntyre was crying, the ESC was only incrementally closer to getting it money and the employees were still upset.
McEntyre was a no-show at a civil hearing last month during which several employees successfully sued her for failing to pay them earlier this year. A magistrate ruled in favor of the employees, some of whom are owed as much as $5,000. But they may never see the money because McEntyre is reportedly deeply in debt. The employees attended today because they are considering filing criminal charges against her for allegedly knowingly issuing them bad checks.
Today’s criminal case focused on the 18 months’ worth of unpaid payroll taxes and the worthless $464 check McEntyre wrote to the ESC last year. Ming Tran, the ESC investigator in the case, told the court that McEntyre wrote a $464 check as part of a payment plan the state and McEntyre agreed to—and that the check bounced.
Toluene, ethyl glycol and propylene glycol were detected earlier this month after facility operators smelled an “unusual odor” coming from the septic tank of the domestic wastewater system, according to a letter sent yesterday from UNC to N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Division of Water Quality.
These chemicals are being used in construction at the site and according to an e-mail sent from UNC to neighbors of the facility, it is believed the chemicals reached the septic tank through the sewer lines from the new building. The chemicals remain inside a storage area used for holding wastewater until it can be pumped and hauled away.
Toluene may affect the nervous system. Low to moderate levels can cause tiredness, confusion, weakness, drunken-type actions, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color vision loss. These symptoms usually disappear when exposure is stopped.
Inhaling high levels of toluene in a short time can causes dizziness or sleepy. It can also cause unconsciousness, and even death. High levels of toluene may affect the kidneys.
In a follow-up to our cover March 10 cover story, "Gaga for Google's fiber," we'd like to update metrics of the involvement of the Triangle's top three participants.
Durham's still ahead in Facebook presence, with 2,180 fans on its "Bring Google Fiber to Durham N.C.," page, while 935 people have signed up for "Bring Google Fiber to Raleigh!". The western part of the Triangle is not far behind: the Facebook group "Bring Google Fiber to Chapel Hill & Carrboro N.C." boasts 906 members.
The towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and UNC-Chapel Hill, will hold a public forum at 7 p.m. today at Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., to receive public comment regarding community interest in the fiber optic trial and how residents would use an ultra-high speed Internet network.
On Thursday, Durhamites hope to make a splash by corralling thousands of locals into the Durham Bulls Athletic Park at 11 a.m. Thursday to spell out "We want Google" on the field, to pose for an aerial photograph. More here >>
Topeka municipal leaders renamed the town Google, Kansas. Others across the country are forming Facebook groups and bringing tech gurus together hoping to be selected for Google's high-speed Internet project.
Chapel Hill, Carrboro and UNC are forming a joint task force, holding a forum and inviting residents to complete a survey.
The group is geared toward becoming a pilot community for Google Fiber, a program announced last month that seeks to build and test Internet service that's one gigabit per second — 100 times faster than what's available today.
To qualify, towns of 50,000 to 500,000 people must apply by March 26 and demonstrate that they have adequate resources and infrastructure to make the partnership successful.
The forum is set for 7 p.m. March 15 at Chapel Hill Town Hall.
Read next week's Independent for a story on what else local municipalities are doing to try to woo Google.
Members of the NAACP stood on the front lawn of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools administration building Thursday morning, calling a plan to add new honors courses a harbinger of resegregation.
"We will not stand for the resegregation of our schools," Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Chapter President Michelle Cotton Laws said, standing behind a banner reading "the struggle continues" and flanked by parents and activists both black and white. "Separate is not equal."
Earlier this month the school board voted to add six honors courses in science and social studies, following four meetings and a public hearing.
The vote split 4-3, with the three black members opposed. The NAACP says adding honors courses without first addressing the achievement gap that cuts along race and class lines only heightens the disparity in local classrooms.
Durham's El Centro Hispano plans to open its Orange County branch on April 1 in Carrboro Plaza, though they are yet to secure a lease, leaders said in both Spanish and English at the Seymour Center on Tuesday.
The group hopes to bring financial stability, consistent leadership and a successful service and funding model to Carrboro after El Centro Latino closed in November, leaving a hole in translation, job finding, after school and legal services for Spanish speakers.
"There are no guarantees. We are out on a limb," El Centro Hispano Board Chairwoman Susan Denman said. "It’s because we support what Carrboro and Chapel Hill have been doing, and we have faith in the foundation the board has laid."
More than 100 community members, some former volunteers or members of churches that supported El Centro Latino, attended the meeting during which El Centro Hispano outlined its plans for Orange County and pinned for support.
Leadership from both nonprofits will host a public meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Seymour Center auditorium in Chapel Hill to garner input on the collaborative effort.
Pilar Rocha-Goldberg, executive director of El Centro Hispano, said her organization is ready and willing to provide much-needed translating, English lessons and job finding services for Orange County's Spanish-speaking community.
"We are confident that the structure we have here will allow us to give good service to the community," she said.
El Centro Latino closed after a 10-year run as a nonprofit due to a lack of funding and constant turnover of its leadership.
*Reporter's note: Scroll to the bottom if you want the quickie results from Election Day (no suprises in Carrboro or Hillsborough. CHCCS followed the Indy endorsement. Chapel Hill Town Council went to Penny Rich, Ed Harrison, Laurin Easthom and Gene Pease). If you'd like to read a scene-setting piece from Chapel Hill Mayor-elect Mark Kleinschmidt's victory party, then read on.
Supporters erupted. His mother burst into tears. His sister shouted. Mark Kleinschmidt just smiled contently, arms crossed but giving the kind of ear-to-ear grin you could feel across the room, satisfaction and disbelief merging together on his face. The campaign had just received word that rival Matt Czajkowski had made his concession speech at the Franklin Hotel.
The progressive bloc had won. They'd just escaped a new, moderate business-centered group gaining traction and council seats. Not so fast.
Word came back that one precint, Patterson, was yet to report. Kleinschmidt was up a scant 168 votes. The jubiliation turned to shocked concern. It was too close to call.
"I don't want a Dewey defeats Truman headline," Kleinschmidt warned reporters at his R&R Grill party. The pack of local politicos returned to the laptop, clicking refresh again and again.
Moments later, the candidate's ever-buzzing cell phone went off once more. It was Mayor Kevin Foy calling to congratulate him.
Kleinschmidt cautioned him, but thanked him for his support. Then the results flashed on the TV screens. It was final — Kleinschmidt had won.